What I Did on my Summer Vacation (Hershey)

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Saturday, July 20, 2002 8:44 AM

What you are about to read is an unbelievably long and very detailed account of my seven-day vacation to Hershey and many other area attractions.

If you are bored, or if you are thinking about visiting the area, I encourage you to read the whole thing. If you only care about Hersheypark, skip to Day Three. Thanks!

DAY ONE
Fallingwater and the Long Drive

My wife Rachel and I left Columbus about 8 a.m. For those who know nothing about Ohio geography, there is nothing more boring than Ohio interstates. Some of the rural routes, especially in Amish country and the Appalachia area, are great, but the interstates are flat, straight and boring. This especially applies to I-70, on which we'd be spending the next 2 hours.

Our first pit stop was the amazing Kennedy's Bakery in Cambridge. It's just off the Cambridge exit, about a mile north. They have "over a million flavors" of milkshakes and more doughnuts and pastries than you've ever seen before. We got three doughnuts between us (good ones with cream, icing, etc.) for a grand total of 85 cents.

Back on the road, we didn't see anything else worth mentioning until we hit the West Virginia line. I love it when a river separates two states, because I love huge bridges and I love crossing into new states. This one, on the Wheeling bypass interstate, is massive. You can "feel" it coming because the descent into the river valley starts miles before.

The bridge behind us, we started making our way through the tiny sliver of West Virginia that's wedged between Ohio and Pennsylvania. It takes only about 20 minutes to get across - thank you, 70mph speed limit.

When we entered Pennsylvania, I began to observe something I've observed every time I travel to this state: These people have no idea how to merge. In Ohio, and most other states, when entering an interstate, you try to get going as fast as you can on the entrance ramp so you can smoothly enter the flow of traffic. Knowing this, the people already on the interstate move over so you can get in. In Pennsylvania, people come to a dead stop at the end of the ramps and crane their necks backward, looking for a hole into which to squeeze. And no one gets over, ever. How silly is that?

Not only that, but this state's speed limits are ridiculous. In the sliver of W.V., the speed limit is 70, and I was a little scared driving that fast. But in PA, a road that would be 65 in Ohio is 55 or even 45. A road that would be 55 is 35. Seriously, rural country roads are 35 for miles and miles. Urg.

At any rate, our first destination was Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's famous house built over a waterfall in southwestern Pennsylvania. We exited I-70 and made our way south to the city of Uniontown, which is a great little city. Though it's a little run-down, you can tell from the buildings and the streets that this town was bustling back in the day. Lots of history here.

Leaving town, we found the rural route to Fallingwater. The house is just past the Ohiopyle State Park area, which looks beautiful. Admission to the house area is $15 a person, ouch - but well worth it.

We were surprised at the number of cars in the huge parking lot. We were also surprised at the beautiful visitors' center, which blended into the forest just like it was designed by Wright himself. We signed up for the house tour and were off in a matter of minutes.

When I pictured the inside of Fallingwater, I pictured something that was maybe cool-looking, but small, uncomfortable and not very livable. I was wrong. The house is huge and beautiful inside. There are windows everywhere, the sound of the water is everywhere, and every item, from the built-in pools and furniture, desks, tables, the fireplace, shelves, cabinets, everything is perfectly engineered to be functional and innovative. As we now know, everything didn't work like Wright anticipated, as steel beams are being used to keep the cantileevered parts of the house from drooping. Still, the house was so much better than we had anticpated.

After the hour-plus tour, we went to the scenic view area, from where all the pictures you've seen of the house were taken. Back at the visitors' center, we ate some extremely expensive, but very tasty deli sandwiches and chips.

On the way back to the interstate, we couldn't stop talking about the house. It is so incredible.

We rejoined I-70 at the town of Donegal, but now it was joined with I-76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, so we had to get a ticket for our toll when we exited.

Next pit stop was at a travel center, where I fueled up and won a $2 jackpot in the Pennsylvania lottery. While at the gas station, a woman asked the clerk which way Ohio was (pointing down both ways of the interstate). Yikes! Funny thing is, the clerk wasn't sure....

We stayed on the turnpike all the way to Harrisburg. This is a great road: four long tunnels and lots of hills and curves. However, as soon as you exit the last tunnel, the road becomes flat and *extremely* straight for about an hour. Harrisburg isn't too interesting. As we neared Hershey on state Route 322, I was beginning to think it wasn't too interesting either. I was expecting a huge strip of tourist-trap restaurants, go-kart tracks, arcades - something like Pigeon Forge. What I got was a normal small town with a huge factory and an amusement park in it.

We found our hotel, which was on 322 overlooking the town. We stayed at a place called Addey's Inn, which I thought would be a little different than the hotels we usually stay at. It has just 12 rooms, each themed to a month of the year. I booked the springy-looking April room way back in December 2001.

When we pulled into the parking lot, my heart sunk. It looked a little crappy. It was old and, as Rachel said, looked like the Bates Motel. It got worse. When we checked in, they gave us the last room - the June room. Why didn't we get April that we reserved 8 months in advance? Because it had accidentally been given to someone who just made reservations two days ago.

It got worse still. We opened the door to the June room - hideous bright yellow with sunflowers everywhere. And it was small. Tiny. Full-size bed (that's barely a step above a twin). Small window-unit air conditioner. Ancient bathroom fixtures. Squeaky bed.

Well, we tried to make the best of it by looking at the positive. For one, it was quiet - literally in the middle of a cornfield. We could see the Hersheypark tower and the end of Sidewinder from the parking lot. The hotel office was a beautiful old house. The owners and employees were quite nice and helpful, and the owners' cat were friendly as they hung around begging for a scratch on the head.

So enough complaining. We set out for some food and to look around town. We continued to be surprised at the lack of tourist trappings. Sure, there were a few restaurants and hotels, but where were the T-shirt shops? The bungee-jumping towers? Kudos to the Hershey village council, or whomever is responsible for keeping the family feel of the town alive and unmolested.

We settled on the Hershey Pantry for supper. A charming little restaurant, but it was SOOO cold inside. We were told the air conditioning was on a 15-minute timer and couldn't be turned off. We waited. A half-hour later, it was still on. In the meantime, we had both ordered the "ultimate grilled cheese," with four cheeses, tomato and fresh basil. Good, but not ultimate. When ordering, I asked the waitress what the sandwich came with. She said, "Chips and a pickle." When the pickle was missing, I asked her where it was. "Oh, we're out of pickles," she said. No big deal, but I really like pickles. And I didn't appreciate the lie. Whatever.

After dinner, we attempted to seek out a grocery store to purchase some doughnuts for breakfast, but all we could find was a Kmart. We bought some Hostess doughnuts that looked like they'd been there for months. As we left the parking lot, we saw two grocery stores right beside us. D'oh.

So our first night in Hershey wasn't the greatest. The rest of the vacation would make up for it.

DAY TWO
Chocolate World etc.

We awoke Sunday with one goal: to purchase and eat large quanties of chocolate. We drove to Chocolate World, the faux chocolate factory. There were hundreds of people swarming about, and we got in line for the ride through the "factory." It was so cheesy, and we took pictures of all the stupidest props. Fun, though.

Afterwards, we gobbled our free-sample Hershey bars and went to the store below to purchase more. We got two bags of Special Dark-only minatures for ourselves... yum. And various other candy for friends and family. Some of the prices were lower, such as 75 cents for a gigantic Hershey bar with almonds. Yet some prices were higher, such as $2.99 for a fairly small bag of Reese's Pieces.

There's not much else to do at Chocolate World - we skipped the 3-D movie. Instead, we left and drove up to the Hotel Hershey, the massive old hotel that overlooks the entire town. From the hotel's balcony, open to the public, you have a great view of Hersheypark.

We looked around for someplace to eat. The Circular Room was way too swanky - jackets required. The Iberian Lounge looked a little snooty and was too expensive. So we wandered over to the restaurant at the hotel golf course's pro shop.

We ate "al fresco" with a table overlooking the first tee. The first hole is a par 3, weird. But good for watching. I ordered a very tasty buffalo-strip sandwich, with cool celery strips on top. Rachel got some sort of veggie-salmon wrap. We both got very good sweet potato fries. But the best was the fruity-sweet iced tea. Excellent meal.

After lunch, we walked around the hotel's fountains and gardens for a while, then drove back down the hill to the Outlets at Hershey. Nothing special here - bought some pants and a shirt, Rachel bought some kitchenware. Best thing was the view of Lightning Racer, directly across the street.

ASIDE: We had been in town for about 24 hours at this point, and though I had yet to step inside Hersheypark, I had seen all the coasters in detail. That's because the park is in the center of town, with streets all the way around it, and all the coasters but one are built as close to the street as possible. I don't know why they did this, but it's great.

After shopping, we paid a visit to Adventure Sports in Hershey, which was actually about four miles out of town. It's your average mini-golf/go-kart/batting cage type place. I played a game of Super Pac-Man (best Pac-Man ever), and then we attempted to play some golf. Bad timing. We were two holes behind the slowest bunch of old folks ever, and directly in front of an incredibly hyper, noisy and annoying group of pre-teen boys. The bugs were horrible and it was blazing hot, but it still was fun.

However, we needed to chill after that, so it was back to the hotel to rest. We were expecting the town to have a "strip" we could walk through; not finding that, we were kinda at a loss as to what to do. What we ended up doing is seeing a movie - "Mr. Deeds," which was funny, but not great. What was great was the intimate theater at the Cocoaplex. Looked like about 50 seats wrapped around a huge high-quality screen. One of the nicest theaters I've ever been in.

The movie over, we ran to the grocery store next door (d'oh) to buy Hersheypark tickets. Then we got some Burger King and headed back to watch TV. Not having cable, we're fascinated by things others are now bored with, such as Crocodile Hunter, Real World and - yes, even Lifetime reruns of the Golden Girls. Oh yeah, even our room was starting to grow on us. Though we couldn't seem to make it cold enough for the oppressive heat.

DAY THREE
Hersheypark

I woke up tired - too excited and hot to sleep well. We made off about 10 a.m., with a stop at a pharmacy for postcards. We had tried to find postcards at several places the day before but were unsuccessful - I thought this was a tourist town?

As we found our way to the parking lot, I gasped at the number of cars. I thought this was Monday? Maybe they're all here for Chocolate World, I hoped.

Wrong. They were all crowded at the front gate. And they all had strollers.

It was a frustrating 15 minutes trying to work our way through the line. Fortunately, once inside, the crowds dissapated - lines were nearly non-existent all day.

First thing I noticed - this park allows you to get up close to the rides. From Superdooperlooper's imposing loop uphill from the path, to the Wildcat's queue inside the ride, even the Mad Mouse you can get inside.

The ride I was most excited about was Great Bear, the "family" B&M inverted, "family" because it's supposedly less intense than others of its type. From the ground, it looked pretty intense. Everyone knows this ride is built on top of and around Superdooperlooper, but it also dodges around a log flume, a sky ride and a pond. Incredible design.

I got in line (by myself, as Rachel wasn't feeling up to riding today). Within just a few minutes I was near the front, but I tripled my wait time by waiting for the front seat. I refuse to ride an inverted coaster anywhere but the first row. In other rows, the seat in front of you is all you see.

The layout of this ride is so unique. It's basically determined by the land around it and the placement of the other rides. Thus, at the top of the lift hill, there's a 360-degree helix to give the train enough juice to make it to the real drop. And it's not just a conveyance, it's a real helix, with strong G-forces. The drop is a twisting one to the right, followed by a massive loop, straight track and an Immelman. All of this takes place on a skinny strip of land in a pond, with the Immelman protruding out over the midway.

After the Immelman, there's the signature B&M zero-g roll. Then the ride gets creative, with a twisting bunny hop (great floating air) into a corkscrew. A final S-curve slows up the train into the brakes.

Who said this wasn't intense? It's short, but just as intense as Raptor or Alpengeist. In fact, I liked it better than Alpie.

From there, we wandered back to Lightning Racer, which had a one-train wait for front seat. I have ridden another dueling wooden coaster, Twisted Sisters (now Twisted Twins). That's more like two coasters kinda next to each other, but Lightning Racer truly duels. The other train is constantly in sight, whether undulating beside, under or above you, or circling around and meeting you in a tunnel. The effect is outstanding.

However, I don't think either side would be a great ride by itself. Good, but not great. The ending is a little lackluster, but otherwise its a solid ride. Probably the most beautiful coaster I've ever seen, too.

I didn't see the promised waterfall, but later I saw a fountain that was turned off because of "drought conditions," so I bet that's where the waterfall went.

Rachel and I played some Skee-ball next. This park has more Skee-ball lanes than I've ever seen. We also rode the giant Ferris wheel, which made me a little nauseous.

Wild Mouse was next in line. This is a ride straight off the shelf, but it's great fun, especially the swooping-curve transition between the hairpin turns and the dips. The couple behind me couldn't stop laughing. I didn't feel any braking at all, though I counted quite a few sets of trims.

Appropriately enough, the wooden GCI Wildcat is right across the way from Wild Mouse. I waited one train for the back seat.

Maybe it was because I had heard it was rough, or maybe because I wasn't expecting much, or maybe because this was my first back-seat ride in a GCI, but Wildcat *blew me away*. It seemed like around every corner there was a surprise dip, or a surprise turn, with stand-up air and crushing laterals. This is the gem of Hersheypark, a +5 coaster, and now my second-favorite woodie behind the Raven.

Time for a break. We walked all over the place looking for two things: frozen yogurt for her and corn dogs for me. We were not successful in finding either. Our quest led us past Sidewinder, the Vekoma boomerang, and though I hadn't planned to ride it, I did anyway when I saw there was no line.

The first drop on these rides gives me a really weird extended airtime feeling that not even the inverted boomerangs give me. Other than that, though, these things are just vomit-machines to me. Ugh, never again. And the brakes were on so hard it gave me a neckache.

Still looking for food, we stumbled upon the monorail. It has a nice, long path that goes out of the park and into the village. Quite relaxing.

We also stumbled upon the greatest arcade I have ever seen at an amusement park. This arcade had so many of the games I used to love as a kid. I played a couple of games of Track and Field, Marble Madness, Name that Tune and Arkanoid, but there was so much more. I could have stayed in there all day.

On the way out, I saw two kids playing something called Punch, I think, which was just like DDR but the pads were pointing in the diagonal direction, not at the compass points. I can never work up enough nerve to try this game out. I don't know what it is; afriad of looking stupid I guess. But it really does look like fun.

No food yet. We decided to head over to ZooAmerica (or is it Zoomerica?), the zoo part of the park that's free with admission. Finding only one food place on that side, we just ate there. I got chili; Rachel got fries. I tried some of that Old Bay seasoning I've heard about on this board - pretty good stuff.

We spent about an hour in the zoo. Not bad, but I live in the home of Jack Hanna and the incredible Columbus Zoo, so I wasn't really impressed.

Crossing back into the park, Rachel said she'd ride the mine ride, Trailblazer, with me. There were a lot of kids in line for this, making it the longest wait of the day at about 15 minutes.

This is a short mine ride, but I liked it. I love how the lift is shrouded in foliage, even though it's feet from a busy road and houses. At the bottom of the turning first drop, the track tips over into a grassy area, giving the feeling that the train is coming off the tracks. PKI's Adventure Express does the same thing, but to a lesser effect. The final helix is large and fast.

Comet was next on the list. I was surprised at how steeply pitched the station is. It's like 15 degrees. I knew almost nothing about the layout of this ride; I was thinking it was a twister. It starts out like a twister, but halfway through, it turns into a dogleg out-and-back section - what a great design! Decent air, too, from the back seat.

Superdooperlooper was next, and there was no line at all. I got into the front seat and looked ahead - was that a twisting lift hill? Yep. There's a chain in the station that pushes the train into a slight uphill twist, where it hooks onto another chain. Ingenious. Looks like B&M is not the only one who had to deal with this park's space constraints.

However, I did not like this ride at all. The loop was fine, but the ride after it was laterally very rough - not my style.

Rachel and I then took ride on the verrrry sloooooow sky ride, which goes about five feet over Great Bear's Immelman. I decided I needed to ride it again, and I did. It was a walk-on, but again I waited 10 minutes for front seat, this time on the outside row. The zero-g roll was much better on the outside, as expected.

Finally, we decided to leave. After hunting down some Lightning Racer postcards, we found our car and took off for the hotel to relax. We ordered a tasty pizza from JoJo's (near the movie theater) and ate while we watched TV and wrote our postcards. I even sent one to myself.

DAY FOUR
The Inner Harbor

This was kind of a late addition. Two weeks ago, I was looking at a map and noticed Baltimore was quite close to Hershey - about 90 minutes away. Rachel has always wanted to go there, so we decided to scrap our planned visit to Gettysburg (we were going more out of a sense of duty than anything else) and visit the city. We left about 10 a.m. It's an uneventful drive, even when you start getting into the city - not a real "big-city" feel like you get when you drive into Pittsburgh or Cincinnati or Cleveland. Or even Columbus. We found a garage on the harbor and paid a *whopping* $21 to park. How do these people live with themselves?

First we shopped at the Harborplace mall, which I wasn't too impressed with. Neither was I impressed with "our" National Aquarium. First, more sticker shock with the $17 entrance fee. Then, the place is *packed* wall-to-wall with kids. Not only that, but the place gives out those backpacks for babies, so every dad had a bored toddler strapped to his back. I couldn't move without getting poked in the face with an aluminum bar.

Well, the Newport Aquarium in Cincinnati is so much better than this place. Although I'll have to say the dolphin show here was very good - I don't think they have one at Newport.

We ate at Phillip's seafood place then, where I had talapia and Rachel had crab salad, both very good, with more o' that Old Bay stuff. We then walked around Barnes and Noble and a second mall, the Gallery, which was better than Harborplace. I had a longneck glass bottle of RC Cola - wish Mello Yello came in glass bottles.

We left for Hershey about 6 p.m. Since we had a late lunch, when we got back to Hershey we ate "supper" at an ice cream place. I had an Italian delite - double dips of spumoni and something called tortoni, which tasted like marachino cherries and almonds - yum. We were back at the hotel just in time for American Idol...

DAY FIVE
This is Amish country?

On Wednesday morning, we took off to see Pennsylvania's Amish country, in and around Lancaster. We were eager for a comparison, as Rachel's parents live in the heart of Ohio's beautiful Amish hills. So we took the interstate to Lancaster.

Lemme tell you, there's nothing like Lancaster in Holmes County, Ohio. This place is a hole. It's a dirty, run-down city, with construction everywhere, and we just wanted to get out as fast as possible. That was difficult considering the horrible traffic, but we made it.

East of Lancaster, we hit the real Amish country as we drove through hilariously named towns like Bird-in-Hand (stopped at a farmer's market) and Intercourse. In Intercourse, we ate an awesome lunch of chilled blueberry soup and BLT with shoo-fly pie for dessert. We also walked around a craft mall and bought some jellies and such.

We drove alllll the way out to a town called Gap, just a few miles from the Delaware state line, without finding anyplace else we wanted to stop. So we started making our way back to Hershey. That's when we saw Tourist Trap Hell. For miles outside of Lancaster, the streets are lined with an awful hodgepodge of cheap hotels, shops, stores, houses, etc. There is nothing like this in Ohio's Amish land. Sure, there are hotels and shops, but it's not the fast-food wonderland that this is.

Speaking of wonderland, we did pass the kiddie theme park Dutch Wonderland, where I stopped to take pics of the first CCI coaster, Sky Princess. We didn't go in, though.

So Pennsylvania Amish country is not all it's cracked up to be. You want to see real Amish country, take U.S. Route 62 to Millersburg, Ohio, and branch out in all directions.

On the way back through Hershey, since I had not taken my camera into Hersheypark, I drove around the perimeter taking shots of the coasters. You can get within a few feet of Great Bear and Lightning Racer, even when outside the fence. I even spoke in a normal voice to some people who were stuck on the log flume lift just a few feet away.

After a rest at the hotel, we ate our "big" meal. We always try to include one nice meal in our vacations, where we don't worry about cost, and this one was to be had at the Hershey Grill. Not the most memorable "big" meal I've had, but good. I had filet mignon with gorgonzola cheese on top.

Back to the hotel for the last time. We were actually going to miss this place, despite its flaws. At least until tomorrow.....

DAY SIX
Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is, in my opinion, the most beautiful city I've been to. I love bridges, and there are just so many here. So I was looking forward to spending my first night downtown... and my first baseball game at the new PNC Park.

We left Hershey at 10 a.m., reversing our route on the turnpike. When near town, we took Route 30 to cut the corner. I was thinking it was an interstate, but it wasn't - it had many stop lights. However, it was worth it. As we crossed a high bridge, I looked to my left and saw a beautiful aeriel view of Kennywood. I realized that I must be on the bridge that I've seen several times from Thunderbolt's lift hill. I would have loved to stop and take pictures, but traffic was heavy. So we continued downtown.

We arrived at our hotel about 3 p.m., the Westin near the under-contruction convention center, which looks something like a circus tent. We got our keys for the room on the 14th floor, parked the car and lugged our stuff to the elevator. We opened the door and realized that this was by far the nicest room we'd ever stayed in. Beatiful view. Incredibly soft and comfy king-size bed. Dual shower heads.

We saw there was a pool on the 4th floor, so we changed and swam for about 5 minutes in icy water. The jacuzzi was broken, so I spent my first time ever in a steam room. Interesting, but it doesn't beat a hot tub.

Back in the room, we crawled into bed and didn't move until 6:30, when it was time to walk to the stadium.

From 3 to 6 p.m., there had been strong lightning storms and rain outside, and we hoped the game wouldn't be cancelled. Luckily, it stopped raining and the game was delayed only slightly.

As we walked along the Allegheny River to PNC Park, we were amazed by the stadium. We crossed the Clemente Bridge and entered easily - no finding the proper gate or climbing stairs and ramps as I'm used to at Cinergy Field.

We found our seats, good ones directly behind home plate, just a few rows behind the boxes. This is the event I had planned the vacation around - my team, the Reds, vs. the Pirates.

Well, it was a great game. The action started with a grand slam from the Reds; the Pirates nearly caught up but fell short, with the final score 7-5 Reds.

I hope the Reds' new ballpark is like this one. It's perfect. The skyline view is *amazing,* and it's so comfortable and intimate. The best ballpark I've ever been to, and that list includes Jacobs Field and Wrigley Field.

After the game (and supper of stale nachos), we headed back for a wonderful sleep on the wonderful bed. Ahh.

DAY SEVEN
The Long Drive Home

After an outrageously expensive continental breakfast and a 30-minute shower by me , we began to pack up. Last day of vacation is always depressing. But we found our way out of the city via detours around the closed Fort Pitt bridge, got back on I-70 and made our way through erratic rain showers into Columbus. Nothing of note to tell you, except that we were certainly glad to be home after that long drive.

TO SUM UP...
Highlights
-PNC Park
-Hersheypark
-Westin
-Fallingwater

Lowlights
-Pennsylvania Amish country
-I-70
-Pennsylvania drivers

Thanks for reading.

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He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

*** This post was edited by Den on 7/20/2002. ***

+0
Saturday, July 20, 2002 2:30 PM

First off, great mention of the Griswold scale... :) Wildcat is a definate +5 coaster (and I'm glad to hear that it STILL is, as I'm at Hershey on Mon and Tues).

And let me also tell you that you're completely right about Pennsylvania roads. The motorists have no clue in heaven of what they're doing (for the most part not everyone is like this) and the speed limits are rediculous.

And of course, we're driving from Chicago. :) Joooooy!

+0
Saturday, July 20, 2002 5:39 PM

Being a fairly agressive driver, I have to agree with some of your assessment of PA drivers. However, I might add that the technical meaning of a yield sign (as taught in PA, at least) is to merge into oncoming traffic if it's safe, otherwise stop and wait.

Exact quote from PA Law:

(c) Duties at yield signs.--The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall in obedience to the sign slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop before entering a crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering. After slowing down or stopping, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute a hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection of roadways. If a driver is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection or junction of roadways after driving past a yield sign, the collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of failure of the driver to yield the right-of-way.

Growing up in PA this is how we were taught to drive and when I first moved from PA I was surprised at how most other areas handle a yield as a "get out of my way, here I come" sort of thing.

Good TR on Hersheypark. We were just there last Wednesday.

...and are those TMBG lyrics as a signature, Den? :)

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park visits in 2002: 14

+0
Saturday, July 20, 2002 9:37 PM
Hey, I live like 3 minutes from the farmer's in Bird In Hand. You needed to get off of Routes 30 and 340 to truely experience Lancaster County. I have lived here for 15 years or so, and I avoid those roads as much as possible...tourist traps, just like you said!
+0
Sunday, July 21, 2002 9:57 AM

The real problem with Penna. Highways is that they were the first limited access highways in the nation, and as such are built substandard to todays Interstates. There are no acceleration lanes, so even if its clear you would enter the turnpike at less than 40 MPH in some places.

That is slowly being fixed as can be seen in all the construction, There are sections of road there that appear to be just US highways widened into interstates, the road from Hershey to Allantown is the worst, farm houses right up to the sholder of I-78

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Whats life if you never get to the Po!nt?

+0
Monday, July 22, 2002 4:55 AM

Lord Gonchar, you are right on the definition of "yield," but entrance ramps in most states are not "yield" areas. You're supposed to merge smoothly with oncoming traffic.

Though I did see "yield" and even "stop" signs on some entrance ramps, so I guess I have to blame the silly law, not the silly drivers. :)

And yes, those are TMBG lyrics in my sig. My favorite group. Viva nerd rock! ;)

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He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

+0
Monday, July 22, 2002 6:11 AM

A couple of things to note:

1) As stated, PA Amish Country IS NOT what is found along Rt 30, Much of 340, and parts of 23. Gotta go off into the back roads to see it. Good example is Rt 741 from Strasburg to Gap. Rt 30 east of Lancaster is nothing but one long line of tourist traps, outlet shopping and congested traffic. One of the funniest bumper stickers I ever saw read "I drive 30 East; Pray for me".

2) PA roads... 'Nuf said above. I used to think that MD drivers (when visiting PA) were bad until I drove on MD roads. MD drivers do know how to drive on roads that are designed properly (read, roads non PA roads). Gotta love 4 lane highways that have exit / entrance ramps intersecting at 90 degree angles to the main highway with no acceleration or deceleration lanes. As noted, the road system is old and it is steadily (if slowly) being improved. The unnofficial motto of PA... "Welcome to Pennsylvania: Road Construction next 200 miles".

3) Should have stopped in at Dutch Wonderland if only to ride Sky Princess. Locally, Turkey Hill mini markets have coupons for DW and Hersheypark.

4) You were in this area doing the vacation thing and did not make a stop at Gettysburg? Shame on you. Best advice to those who go here... read a book on the subject first and / or get a licensed battlefield guide to take you around and then go back on your own and hit points that interest you. The town itself has its share of tourist traps that make Lancaster Co. Amish country look like pristine wilderness.

5) Nice to know that someone else out there gives Great Bear and Comet their just due. Too many call Great Bear "lack luster". In this world of clones and copies and similar design, the Bear is a refreshing difference... a very unique Invert that is just as good as any out there. As for Comet, too many write this coaster off. 6) the "Water Fall" on Lightning Racer is at the beginning of the tunnel (I think). Not so much of a water fall as a trickle of water down each side of the opening. Doesn't add to the ride when it is on, doesn't detract from the ride when it is off. This, along with Knoebels Pheonix and Dorney's Thunderhawk is one of three great Herb Schmeck PTC coasters all with in a 2 hr drive of each other.

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Face it, call ourselves what we want, but to the parks we are all "GP".

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Monday, July 22, 2002 6:18 AM

SLFAKE - reply by the number:

1) I figured the back roads are what holds the "real" Amish country. But like I said, my parents-in-law live in Ohio Amish country, so I have seen more than enough buggies, barns and men with beards. We just wanted to drive through for a quick comparison. But even Ohio's Amish "capital," Millerburg, is not even close to as commercialized as the Lancaster area.

3) As you may have noted, my wife didn't ride anything at HP except Trailblazer. That's because she hates coasters, and I'm very grateful to her for joining me at the park anyway. That said, there's no way I could subject her to another day at another park. :) She even stayed in the car while I took the Sky Princess photos....

4) History was always my worst subject. I'm ashamed to say it, but I'm not really interested. I'd rather see modern cities.

5) Not really a reply, but in case anyone is wondering: Yes, Roller Soaker was running all day. We watched people getting drenched for a minute and decided we'd rather not walk around all day in squeaky shoes. :)

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He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

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Monday, July 22, 2002 11:15 AM

Den said:

5) Not really a reply, but in case anyone is wondering: Yes, Roller Soaker was running all day. We watched people getting drenched for a minute and decided we'd rather not walk around all day in squeaky shoes.


You didn't miss much. Stood in line for an hour because my daughter wanted to. Cute concept, but about as exciting as paint drying. The ride is short and uneventful, the folks below rarely hit the target (you) and one dump of water is not nearly satisfying enough - even after I nailed my wife and 10 month old son to the horror of other onlookers. Soaked yes, but it seems the excitement in line almost overshadows the ride.

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park visits in 2002: 14

*** This post was edited by Lord Gonchar on 7/22/2002. ***

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Monday, July 22, 2002 11:19 AM
Great TR! Hershey is awesome!

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Sean

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